The Super Bowl 58 is here and with it, the excitement of placing bets. As sports betting continues to grow in popularity across the country, a record 26% of Americans are expected to bet on the big game. This meteoric rise has also contributed to a growing concern about gambling addiction among health professionals.
In Billings, Shooters Bar and Grill was buzzing with anticipation as fans like Wyatt Burns and Kevin Curley prepared for the Super Bowl. “I came to have a beer and a taste, just to relax a little bit before the festivities start,” Burns said Sunday.
Burns isn’t just watching the game for the football; he enjoys having a little money on the line. “It makes the game more enjoyable to watch when you have a little bit of money on the line,” Burns said. “I bet big,” Curley added.
While this couple may not be part of the growing number of people who suffer from gambling addiction, experts are concerned about easy access to mobile platforms that encourage betting behavior. “Montana has followed this trend across the country over the last few years, setting records every year for revenue collected from gambling,” Matt Perdue, medical director of Borderline Psychiatry in Billings, explained.
Perdue worries about how things will play out since data can only be gathered from five years since sports betting was legalized in 2019. “One area of concern is easy access to mobile platforms, and those platforms often encourage the initiation of betting,” Perdue added.
For Burns, it’s another way to have fun even if he doesn’t always win. “For the most part, I have self-control,” he said. He admits that he’s had a few losses where he woke up feeling regretful but says he tries not to let it affect his daily life too much.” It’s just another way to unwind after work or spend time with friends.”